Following active surveillance within the 10-km temporary control zone (TCZ), four cases of bluetongue serotype 3 (BTV-3) have been identified in cattle on two additional UK farms. These additional cases, found in asymptomatic cattle, originated from farms within the 10km TCZ that surrounds the initial case found near Canterbury, Kent on November 11. All infected animals have been culled to prevent further transmission of the disease.
Effective Surveillance and Control Measures
The detection of these new cases demonstrates the effectiveness of the ongoing surveillance strategy. In addition to the TCZ, there are also continued surveillance efforts outside the zone as part of the routine bluetongue monitoring strategy. Farmers are urged to register their animals if they haven't already. Furthermore, legislation remains in place restricting any movement of animals into and out of the control zone.
Bluetongue Hotline for Farmers
To support farmers during this time, a dedicated bluetongue hotline has been set up. Farmers can call this hotline for advice and guidance. Dr. Joseph Henry, chair of the Ruminant Health & Welfare bluetongue working group and president of the Sheep Veterinary Society, emphasized the importance of vigilance among farmers when buying new animals, reporting any signs of disease, and maintaining awareness.
No Evidence of Bluetongue Virus in UK Midge Population
Despite the additional cases, there has been no evidence of the bluetongue virus in the UK midge population. This, coupled with falling temperatures, means the risk of disease transmission by midges is decreasing. However, the UK Government remains vigilant, and the TCZ, along with surveillance measures, continues.